kairos reviewed our panel.

August 18, 2010 § 2 Comments

and i feel like a big awkward weirdo reading the write up.
it was my first conference presentation.

Jacqueline Schiappa, “Theorizing the Public Sphere for the 21st Century Classroom: Including the Online Experiences of Digital Natives”

An addition to the printed program, Schiappa suggested that “digital natives” are often dismissed as self-absorbed and disinterested in participating as citizens in the public sphere because the new media texts that they produce—in both public and private spaces—are not considered “real writing.” But, contended Schiappa, the very act of writing is a kind of doing, and thus the public sphere should be re-envisioned as being enmeshed in those very texts.
According to Schiappa, the types of online writing assignments that are often assigned to digital natives in their college composition classes fail to relate to or complicate the writing that students are already doing. In other words, when instructors ask students to write class blogs or contribute to class wikis, these writing environments are still viewed as “schoolwork,” separate from the writing these students are doing outside the academy.
Therefore, Schiappa proposed that instructors should try to revalue the writing students are doing outside the academy by asking 1) What preexisting online writing is appropriate for use in the classroom? 2) How would such writing be included? And 3) To what purposes and ends would such writing be used?
Schiappa answered the first question by suggesting that Facebook might be a place to start and that the President’s Facebook site could be considered a space of public engagement. In response to her own second question, Schiappa acknowledged the brevity of most written texts on Facebook, and she suggested asking students either to take an essay and reduce it to a Facebook comment or to take a Facebook comment and expand it into an essay–and afterwards asking themselves what was lost and/or gained in the new genre.
Schiappa concluded by reiterating her contention that the online writing students are already doing is significant, real, and meaningful to them, and that it does matter in the public sphere of the 21st century.”


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